The Jewish Chronicle - - LIFE - AM­S­TER­DAM

FEW BUILD­INGS have such an eclec­tic his­tory as this in­ti­mate bou­tique ho­tel — once a the­atre which saw Vi­valdi play to cel­e­brate its cen­te­nary, at an­other time a poor­house. Sev­eral in­car­na­tions and cen­turies later, the 17th cen­tury build­ing un­der­went a com­plete re­fit in 1999 to open as an el­e­gant and dis­creet place to stay, right by Am­s­ter­dam’s grand Keiz­er­gracht canal.

Named af­ter Welsh writer Dy­lan Thomas, it might be small but ser­vice is re­as­sur­ingly at­ten­tive from the mo­ment you step through its arched en­try onto the outer court­yard.

With only 40 rooms, its some­what labyrinthine lay­out means room shapes dif­fer while de­signs range from muted colours to or­nately dressed. Those on the up­per floors are reached via dark wood-pan­nelled cor­ri­dors, ec­cen­tric in their twists and turns. Those that open onto the court­yard are du­plex.

And af­ter the ho­tel quickly made a name for it­self as one of the city’s most chic places to stay, its new Occo bistro and bar has also be­come the hip place to be since it opened last year.

It’s an at­mo­spheric space with wood floors, tim­bered ceil­ings, gor­geous dimmed light­ing and dark wood bar, where the sig­na­ture must-try cock­tail is the Dy­lan Thomas. Made with Sin­gle­ton whisky, Grand Marnier and vanilla, and served with a brown sugar cube which is set aflame at the table then mixed into the drink. You can’t help feel­ing the writer would have ap­proved. Po­tent stuff.

If you’d pre­fer some­thing less in­tox­i­ca­tion, go for the Vir“Gin” tonic, made with non-al­co­holic gin.

With the bar in the cen­tre, the brasserie ta­bles wrap around the room serv­ing food all day — smoked sal­mon on rye per­haps, or nib­ble deep fried olives with your drink.

Save one meal to dis­cover Vinke­les, the ho­tel’s Miche­lin starred restau­rant fea­tur­ing French cui­sine with a con­tem­po­rary twist — give them a lit­tle no­tice and they can cre­ate a spe­cial menu to cater to di­etary re­quire­ments and veg­e­tar­i­ans. Rus­tic with brick walls and tim­bered ceil­ings, the orig­i­nal cast iron ovens still re­main from its early days.

As the ic­ing sugar on the pan­cake, the ho­tel’s su­perb lo­ca­tion means you’re only a short saunter from many of the city’s high­lights — the eclec­tic shops of the Nine Streets shop­ping dis­trict are on the doorstep as is one of Am­s­ter­dam’s most fa­mous canals, while Anne Frank’s House, the Ri­jksmu­seum and Van Gogh Mu­seum are all within a 15-minute walk.

From its quirky dé­cor to equally quirky past, this is a short break with guar­an­teed style and sto­ries to tell.

RATES: Rates start from around £300 per room dy­lanam­s­ter­


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